Boom Blox, the upcoming physics-based puzzler from EA and uber film maker Steven Spielberg, is inbound. But we're still not quite sure how it works or what it is. To find out, we sat down with Amir Rahimi, the game's senior producer, and discovered that there's more to Boom Blox than meets the eye...
VideoGamer.com: Do you think that Boom Blox has hardcore appeal?
Amir Rahimi: I do. I absolutely do. To be quite honest it was a bit of a surprise to us in the development team, when about halfway through development we started having fun playing the game. It started out being just a family game, a game that would get kids excited. Every single person on the team had come from a hardcore game, we're all hardcore gamers. I don't think we could help but to make a game that was appealing to us. It was intrinsic.
About halfway through we realised we were onto something. And I've got to tell you, we've done an amazing job of making the game very acceptable to the casual audience but also have a layer of depth that is going to be really appealing to the gamer.
A lot of that comes from the physics. The physics are very realistic. When you have a game like this one here, Tower Topple, it really matters what angle you shoot, how hard you throw it, you get a billiards mechanic where you have to move the angles and pick the right shot. But because the physics are so realistic, that game will play differently every single time they play it because the blocks will fall over differently. New strategies emerge every time you play it. There's a level of depth there that's emergent.
VideoGamer.com: And obviously gamers love physics right?
AR: Yeah exactly! And that's what this game's all about.
VideoGamer.com: Would you say the physics in Boom Blox are the better than any game on the Wii?
AR: I certainly have not seen any game out on the Wii that uses... you know what? I might even be so bold as to say I haven't really seen another game that uses physics as well and as much as Boom Blox.
VideoGamer.com: Across all platforms?
AR: Yeah! We spend the majority of our CPU cycles solving physics. The game, the entire experience is based on realistic physics.
VideoGamer.com: The feeling is that that kind of thing isn't possible on the Wii.
AR: To some extent. Of course the Wii's hardware isn't as powerful as the PS3. But I think you'll find that as the console matures that developers will find ways to sneak really cool physics or more really cool graphics in.
VideoGamer.com: There have been some comments from Mike Capps (president of Epic games) that the Wii is like a virus. What do you think of that?
AR: (Laughs)(Claps) That's hilarious! That's a funny comment. I've heard a significant number of people I've shown the game to say they're going to pull their Wii back out of the closet in order to pick up Boom Blox. I have heard that where people who play the Wii for a while go back to their PS3 or their Xbox. But I do believe that Boom Blox is going to be one of those games to make people pull the Wii back out.
VideoGamer.com: Boom Blox is a Wii only title. Is there any chance of it coming to other consoles?
AR: There's definitely the potential to go to other consoles. Our mindset, our philosophy was that we didn't want to taint our thinking by taking any other console into account. The way we saw it we wanted to make this the most authentic Wii experience that it could possibly be. So we didn't think about the PC, DS, PS3 or Xbox 360. We're still very much in the mindset of finishing this game. But once it's over the sky's the limit. There's definitely the possibility of going to other consoles.
VideoGamer.com: I guess core gamers will be most interested in the user generated features. Do you see players uploading levels online on the Wii?
AR: I absolutely do. There's so much flexibility in this editor. The kids for the casual audience, they love to build something up with a ton of bombs and blow the hell out of it. For the gamers, they can get really complex and build interesting mechanical things and then blow them the hell up. And you can very easily share it online.
VideoGamer.com: What do you think of the Wii's online service as a whole compared with Xbox LIVE and PSN?
AR: It's still early with the Wii. Eventually their online capabilities have the potential to catch up to any one of the other consoles. We're very happy with the way the online portion of our game turned out.
VideoGamer.com: What's you personal favourite thing you enjoy doing in the game?
AR: The competitive multiplayer. There's a few modes in particular that I gravitated towards, played so many times, because the physics are so realistic you just don't get bored of them. It's like playing pool. You might get bored of playing pool but you'll always want to come back because every single time you play pool the game is different. We were able to capture that with Boom Blox.
VideoGamer.com: Thanks for your time Amir.
Boom Blox is scheduled for release on Nintendo Wii on 9 May 2008.